Monobina has the distinction of being the first fashion designer at The Souled Store
If you are someone who likes shopping online, it is impossible that you haven’t heard the name or haven’t made a purchase from ‘The Souled Store’. From creating and curating stunning designs and print for t-shirts, phone covers, backpacks, mugs, socks and a never ending list, they have become one of the most popular youth brands in a very short time span.
While the creations and designs which are adored by millions, we caught up with the person creating the magic behind the scenes – Monobina Banerjee, Sr. Associate Fashion Designer at The Souled Store.
Monobina looks after the complete designing process, right from conceptualization to the end product, including trend forecasting, seasonal collection planning, sales study, design development, vendor management, sampling and production.
How it all started for Monobina
Born in Kolkata, Monobina was brought up in different places across India. This gave her a unique insight into different traditions, cultures and their clothing, which led her towards pursuing a career in fashion design.
She pursued fashion designing from NIFT Kannur and was placed at Suditi Industries, as an Assistant Fashion Designer for NUSH – brand by Anushka Sharma, as she graduated in 2017.
After 4 seasons at NUSH, she joined The Souled Store in 2019, where she had the distinction of being the first fashion designer in their team. “It was quite overwhelming to be the first fashion designer of the brand. The role challenged me to put forth ideas and concepts that demanded a certain amount of thought provocation. Also, being the first isn’t easy – it was a huge responsibility on my shoulders,” says Monobina.
First Big Project at The Souled Store – Avengers Quantum Realm Jacket
If this wasn’t big, her first design at The Souled Store was ‘Avengers Quantum Realm Jacket’, which went one to become the brands most popular and best-selling product. Talking about the inception of the idea, she says, “I remember the craze of the movie, Avengers: Endgame, it was mind-boggling. We witnessed a lot of hype on the jacket and it was trending on social media as well, which made me wonder why not create one for the collection.”
After a decent amount of brainstorming about the fabric, colors, the fit, the cuts, the stitch lines, garment construction, and numerous productive debates, she finally made the jacket. “The jacket immediately received an exquisite response from the design team and various other departments, which is when we decided to launch the product,” she adds. This was also the first cut and sew, color-blocked jacket in their product range!
The Souled Store’s AW20 collection is all about “Here to have fun.” The concept is playful, fun-loving, exuberant, bright, and ecstatic! “It is categorized into exciting must-haves, bright palettes, premium cuts, superhero suits, and rocking color blocks. This collection also inhibits surface explorations, varied fabrics, and innovative cuts,” says Monobina.
They have also introduced the all-new and contemporary winter sets and denim jackets as part of the collection. Next in line is a very exciting range of summer collection coming up very soon, and a list of new products for the brand enthusiasts.
India’s taste in fashion is on par with western countries
he last decade is known to be the year of transformation for the fashion world, which saw the emergence of social media, influencers, artificial intelligence, and a new wave of sustainability. The decade also witnessed an athleisure boom, and fashion translated comfort. But the question is, how has India evolved as compared to the western fashion and design?
“India has evolved over the decade into being more accepting towards western fashion and being more casual than formal,” says Monobina.
Elaborating about the transformation, she says, “We are well aware that India is a very big exporter of fabrics and accessories, globally. In fabrics, India plays a vital role as one of the biggest players in the international fashion arena. India, on one hand, is exquisitely diverse in culture, stands strong making room for a good demand worldwide, and on the other it is majorly influenced by western fashion.”
“Fashion keeps evolving with time, it’s ever-changing. Indian fashion history is entwined with art, culture, industrial, and social change of that decade. Be it the ancient Indus valley drapes, the Mughal period, the Rajput period, or the centuries that followed after. Whether it’s the ongoing change of social and political scenarios or the arrival of art movements/protests, pop-culture, or technological innovations, fashion has always been the narrator of time,” she further adds.
Designs influenced by Personal Interest
More often than not, any art is heavily derived from the personal interest of an artist. For Monobina, her love for the merchandise influences a lot of creative ideation for the collections that are developed i.e. the types of prints, placements, nature of the artwork, or the execution of a style for any given product.
In addition, she tries to study, learn, and engage with their TG and ask why and why not, which according to Monobina is supremely important for any designer to sustain the connection while designing for their audience.
Infusing Pop Culture in Design
At The Souled Store, 70% of their collection is inspired by pop culture merchandise. “We do not plan our collection like any other regular retail brand. The approach towards our product designs is much more personal,” says Monobina.
“We reflect a certain vibe (happy, sassy, free-spirited), which is conveyed by the brand essence. The product designs if broken into, can be a mix of trendy base colors, good quality clothing, the essence of the pop culture character, a thought-provoking typo to go with the composition, and the final touch of overall aesthetics of the design,” adds Monobina.
Monobina is quite passionate about fabrics, weaves, textiles, dyes, and colors and want to produce contemporary designs out of the basics. Sustainable fashion-approach also happens to be one of her strongest passion projects that she dwelling into, as a step towards making the world a better and responsible place to live in.
Fashion Tips for inspiring fashion designers and fashion enthusiasts
The key to become a successful fashion designer according to Monobina is to understand and connect with the people you cater to. Also, understanding consumer behavior and your target audience regularly is very important. “The other tip would be to pen down a list of goals, be it, however, silly or impossible, stay goal-oriented and take one step at a time. Most of all, everyone needs self-motivation, resilience, passion, and persistence,” she adds.
Sharing her tip for fashion enthusiasts and customers, Monobina says, “It is a general misconception that fashion isn’t comfortable. We are all still huge fans of a white t-shirt/shirt and a pair of blue denim! You can never go wrong with that.”
“A good play of colors always tends to lift the look of an outfit, for example, a bright red with a mix of neutrals will always stand out. Find your style, and when in doubt, always go for classics,” she concludes.